It’s physics 101: A wind turbine spins by extracting energy from moving air. As a turbine moves faster, the wind powering the twirling blades slows down a little bit. But what happens when turbines are hit with the high-speed winds that power hurricanes like Sandy or Katrina? Could an offshore wind farm actually dampen the destructive force of a superstorm?
Though energy security and economic competitiveness are important benefits, officials speaking yesterday at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Summit outside Washington, D.C., said slowing climate change is the primary driver for energy research and innovation. “I’ve certainly not shied away from emphasizing the role of climate” in driving policy, said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The big questions [around legislation], then, are what, how much and when.”
Cape Wind, the much-delayed offshore wind farm project proposed for Nantucket Sound, said Wednesday that it had received a new loan commitment that would allow it to finish its financing this fall and begin producing power by 2016. “We expect to complete project financing in Q3,” Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Cape Wind, wrote in an email, referring to the third quarter. “We will begin construction (on land) shortly thereafter. We will begin ocean construction in 2015 and commission the project in 2016.”
The University of Delaware yesterday announced a new initiative to educate policymakers and other stakeholders about the value of offshore wind, ultimately aiming to aid the commercial-scale deployment of the technology off America’s shores. Called the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW), it will be housed by the University’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and headed by Stephanie McClellan, formerly policy director and offshore wind adviser for Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D). “It’s our goal to help accelerate the deployment to a scalable level necessary to address the grand challenge of global climate change and to grow our domestic clean energy economy,” said Charles Riordan, the University of Delaware’s vice provost for research, at yesterday’s announcement.
In releasing his long-awaited tax reform proposal that would cut most incentives for the energy industry, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp was apparently eager to frame them as little more than wasteful giveaways to well-connected industries. Recipients of those deductions were quick to paint the Michigan Republican’s proposal as a dicey endeavor that risked halting the domestic energy renaissance and reversing long-standing policy goals.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp released his highly anticipated proposal to overhaul the tax code today, aiming to eliminate lucrative tax breaks that touch all energy sectors within a broader draft targeting economywide preferences in pursuit of a lower overall tax rate. The proposal is similar to drafts issued last year by then-Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus. But in the energy space, at least, early indications are that the draft from Camp (R-Mich.) would be more favorable to oil and gas companies and less favorable to renewable energy firms than ideas offered by the Montana Democrat.
Hurricanes are unstoppable, right? Apparently not. An intriguing new computer simulation shows that 78,000 large wind turbines spread across 35,000 square kilometers of ocean outside of New Orleans would have cut Hurricane Katrina’scategory 3 winds at landfall by 129 to 158 kilometers per hour (80 to 98 miles per hour) and reduced the storm surge by 79 percent. The same collection of turbines offshore of New York City would have dropped Hurricane Sandy’s winds by 125 to 140 kph and the surge by up to 34 percent.
Senate Democrats said yesterday that now is the time to lay the foundation for future climate change legislation and international action to address emissions. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the chamber’s newest members, though a veteran of the congressional climate wars, will host a meeting on Capitol Hill tomorrow with more than 100 international legislators who hope to take action domestically to pave the way for an international agreement on climate change in Paris late next year.
The White House intends to act on solutions for combating methane emissions and promoting energy finance as part of its efforts on climate change and a comprehensive federal energy strategy, top officials in the Obama administration said today.
Despite the fact that lawyers were given a narrow question to answer, yesterday’s oral arguments to the Supreme Court touched on all aspects of the ongoing challenge to U.S. EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through construction permits for large-emitting facilities. It also included a reference to bubblegum, a nod to a tobacco industry case and questions about EPA’s upcoming standards for new and existing power plants.